Hypoxic blood boosting may be banned
Anti-Doping Agency is due to rule on the use of oxygen tents, widely used by athletes to b
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Three US riders who took part in this year’s Tour de France use a legal performance-enhancing method which could soon be banned. Hypoxic blood boosting involves sleeping in altitude tents or rooms that simulate the low-oxygen conditions of high altitude. This, in turn, encourages the body to make more oxygen-carrying red blood cells and can lead to improved endurance.
The website for Colorado Altitude Training, which make the tents (otherwise known as hypoxic devices), claim to have helped the likes of David Zabriskie, George Hincapie, and Levi Leipheimer. Hincapie is quoted on the website saying: “The Colorado Altitude Room is the most comfortable way to get the performance benefits I need to ride my best.”
This method of preparation has recently been criticised by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which worries that the tents and rooms violate “the spirit of sport”, and are looking to have them banned. The agency is due to make a decision in September on whether or not to place them on its list of Prohibited Substances and Methods for 2007.
Many athletes and trainers are unhappy about the agency potentially banning the altitude simulation products because, they claim, for the first time it’ll mean the question of performance enhancement moving from the use of doping products to something which is far less defined.